Confessions of a Puppetmaster
A Hollywood Memoir of Ghouls, Guts, and Gonzo Filmmaking
by Charles Band; Adam Felber
Pub Date 16 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 11 Jan 2022
William Morrow and Custom House, William Morrow
Renowned producer, director, and “B movie” showman Charles Band takes readers on a wild romp through Hollywood’s decidedly un-Oscar-worthy underbelly, where mayhem and zombies reign supreme, and cheap thrills and entertainment are king
Zombies, aliens, a little skin, lots of gore—and even more laughs—the cinematic universe of Charles Band is legendary. From the toilet-invading creatures of Ghoulies to the time-travelling bounty hunter in Trancers to the pandemic-crashed Corona Zombies, Band has spent four decades giving B-movie lovers exactly what they love. In Confessions of a Puppetmaster, this congenial master of Grindhouse cinema tells his own story, uncut.
Born into a family of artists, Band spent much of his childhood in Rome where his father worked in the film industry. Early visits to movie sets sealed young Charlie’s fate. By his twenties he had plunged into moviemaking himself and found his calling in exploitation movies—quick, low-budget efforts that exploit the zeitgeist and feed people’s desire for clever, low-brow entertainment. His films crossed genres, from vampire flicks to sci fi to erotic musical adaptations of fairy tales. As he came into his own as a director, he was the first to give starring roles to household names like Demi Moore, Helen Hunt, and Bill Maher.
Off set, Band’s life has been equally epic. Returning to his beloved Italy, he bought both Dino De Laurentiis’s movie studio and a medieval castle. After Romania’s oppressive communist regime fell, he circumvented the U.S. State Department to shoot films in Dracula’s homeland. He made—and then lost—a moviemaking fortune. A visionary, Band was also at the vanguard of the transition to home video and streaming, making and distributing direct-to-video movies long before the major studios caught on.
In this revealing tell-all, Band details the dizzying heights and catastrophic depths of his four decades in showbiz. A candid and engaging glimpse at Hollywood’s wild side, Confessions of a Puppetmaster is as entertaining as the movies that made this consummate schlockmeister famous.